TGG Service: Ecosystem Development

Understanding Your Business Ecosystem

A biological ecosystem consists of all the living things that share an environment, and each thing in that environment plays some sort of role and has some sort of impact on the environment itself and on the other living things that share that environment.

A business ecosystem is an analogous view of the business world in which a business entity operates.  It consists of a network of organizations and individuals – suppliers, distributors, customers, partners, competitors, government agencies, major influencers, etc. – that are involved in a given economy, market, or industry. Each entity within the ecosystem affects and is affected to some degree by the others entities operating in that system.  And because every ecosystem is dynamic, it produces a constantly evolving set of relationships that each entity within that system needs to recognize, understand, and respond to in order to survive.

Just as in physics, every action within an ecosystem produces some sort of reaction – sometimes negligible, occasionally dramatic. The key in business is to be able to anticipate what those reactions – good or bad – might be, and do so before taking action.  This is especially true when it comes to defining and implementing strategies.

In today’s world it is very dangerous to think about one’s business without considering the relationships that exist among your customers, distributors and partners, competitors, and all others who can influence your ecosystem.  It is also important to gain an understanding of the motivations, internal and external, that prompt an entity or individual to act.

Whether an organization is a for-profit or non-profit, it is only by understanding where that organization fits within its ecosystem if you want to get a clear and accurate picture of its impacts on the system and how it is impacted by other entities and forces operating in that ecosystem.  It is also essential to think about how things may be changing in the ecosystem if you want to be able to spot opportunities and evaluate the impact of pursuing those opportunities.

This kind of analysis is not an easy task.  It requires recognizing and scrutinizing the forces at play – competitive, economic, social, regulatory, and environmental.  TGG helps its clients:

> Understand the makeup and dynamics of their business ecosystem

> Evaluate where their organization fits and how much real influence they have or could have on the system

> Identify the major players that will or could have the greatest influence on shaping the system going forward

> Examine the motivations and relationships of those players with the highest likelihood of helping or hurting a client’s future prospects

> Spot opportunities, risks and threats that the ecosystem may produce

> Assess how strategies are likely to play out – i.e., how they might motivate others within the system to act positively or negatively toward our client

> Assist clients in developing ecosystem relationships and negotiating agreements with key players with the ecosystem

This is a conceptual view of an ecosystem TGG created for a client in the travel industry. 

This view was created and substantiated through in-depth research of the industry, the client, and the market dynamics in play at the time it was created.  It was used to:

> Enable visualization of the ecosystem

> Consider interactions and motivations

> Spot opportunities, threats and risks

> Develop and evaluate strategy options

> Discuss strategy decisions – bot internally and externally